As has become customary, Bill Snyder has added familiar faces to his Kansas State staff.
K-State announced late Tuesday morning that Snyder has hired former Wildcats football players Zach Hanson and Eric Hickson. The former will serve as tight ends coach as well as help with the offensive line, while the latter will coach running backs.
In its release, the football program noted that K-State now has seven full-time coaches who played for the Wildcats, the most former players coaching at their alma mater among all FBS staffs.
“I am pleased to have Zach and Eric back with us,” Snyder said in a statement. “Both have proven their capabilities not only as very successful position coaches and teachers, but also in the development of quality and valued young men. They both have a genuine interest in the life skills enhancement of those they work with. Having also been highly successful student-athletes in our program, they believe in and understand our program.”
Hickson spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Akron. That was Hickson’s first coaching job at the FBS level.
A running back at K-State, he left the program in 1998 as the school’s all-time leading rusher; he now stands fifth on that list.
After Hanson finished up his playing career at K-State in 2011, he spent four years at his alma mater (2012-15) as a graduate assistant and quality control coach. The past two seasons, he was a graduate assistant working with special teams and tight ends at North Carolina.
This will also be Hanson’s first full-time job at the FBS level.
Dana Dimel has added a touch of the SEC experience to his first UTEP coaching staff.
The football program on Wednesday confirmed the hiring of four assistants, two on each side of the ball — running backs coach Reggie Mitchell, inside wide receivers coach Jake Waters, defensive line/defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo and cornerbacks coach Remington Rebstock.
Mitchell spent the past two seasons as the running backs coach at Arkansas. Prior to that, he served in the same capacity, with the added title of recruiting coordinator, at Kansas for six seasons (2010-15).
“Reggie brings a wealth of experience and recruiting savvy to our program,” Dimel said in a statement. “He’s well versed and well-recognized as an outstanding recruiter here in the state of Texas. He’s well known as an excellent coach and developer of running back talent at the highest level of college football.”
The other three assistants will all be working in their first on-field role at the FBS level.
Waters, a former quarterback at Kansas State under Dimel’s tutelage, was a graduate assistant at Iowa State last season; Tuiasosopo spent the past three seasons in various roles at USC, including special teams quality control assistant and offensive consultant; Rebstock served in a variety of off-field roles at K-State (2010-14) and Oklahoma State (2015-17).
And there you have it.
Amidst months of speculation of whether he would or wouldn’t, a report surfaced Tuesday evening that Bill Snyder would indeed be returning as the head football coach at Kansas State next season. Not long after, both the 78-year-old coach and the school confirmed that to be the case.
Below are the statements sent out by the football program.
Head Coach Bill Snyder:
“As I have stated many times, as long as I remain in good health, am wanted and have a positive impact on the young people in our program, I will continue to be the head coach at Kansas State University. Those factors have not changed, and I look forward to meeting with our players and beginning our out-of-season program when classes resume. I appreciate President Myers and Gene Taylor for their continued support of me, our program and our University. They are truly special K-Staters.”
Athletics Director Gene Taylor:
“We are excited that Coach Snyder has decided to continue to lead our program and look forward to building off the late-season momentum which included five wins in our final six games, a Top 10 road win and Cactus Bowl victory. I know he and his staff, in addition to our student-athletes, are anxious to get winter workouts and spring practices underway in preparation for next season.
Snyder took a leave of absence in the offseason to battle throat cancer, but he returned in time for summer camp and remained on the sidelines through the 2017 season. A report also emerged in November that former AD John Currie attempted to bring Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt aboard as a head-coach-in-waiting — his new contract at Oregon still includes a K-State escape clause — with the school responding that Snyder will be the Wildcats’ head coach until he decides he’s not.
In early December, it was reported that Snyder would be returning; a week or so later, Snyder himself said no decision had been made on his coaching future.
Snyder, who will turn 79 in during the 2018 season, will be entering his 27th season leading the program, which was utterly moribund prior to his arrival.
When coached by Snyder, the Wildcats have a 210-109-1 record. In games not coached by Snyder, they are 318-530-40.
The Wizard is set to ride again.
According to a report from the Associated Press, Bill Snyder will return to Kansas State for a 27th season at Kansas State in 2018.
The decision comes amid speculation from Snyder himself that last week’s Cactus Bowl would be his final game. “I’ve had some dialogue and I need to have some more dialogue with my family, and more dialogue with our administration,” Snyder told the AP ahead of the game. “Just needing to be more thorough with it. Because you know for me it’s a big decision.”
Snyder is by far the best coach in Kansas State history, leading the previously downtrodden Wildcats to a 210-110-1 record with two Big 12 championships during his time on campus. Synder first took over in 1989, retired in 2005 and then returned in 2009. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
The 78-year-old was diagnosed with throat cancer in the spring, but maintained perfect attendance with the Wildcats during the 2017 season, a campaign that began with the K-State ranked at No. 18 in the AP poll and ended with an 8-5 mark and a 35-17 win over UCLA in the Cactus Bowl.
Jacob Park has been granted permission to leave Iowa State, but that permission will come with some strings attached.
A little over two weeks ago, Park announced that he would be transferring from Iowa State. That development came two months after Park took a sudden leave of absence due to what were described as “unspecified medical concerns.” Park subsequently confirmed that he was facing a one-game suspension after testing positive for marijuana prior to his sabbatical.
Wednesday, Park took to Twitter once again to reveal that he has been given a release from his ISU scholarship. However, the release comes with restrictions as the quarterback will not be permitted to transfer to another Big 12 school, Iowa and a pair of FCS programs — Northern Iowa and Drake.
Northern Iowa is next on ISU’s schedule in 2019; 2018 will be Park’s final season of eligibility. Drake is not on any of ISU’s future non-conference schedules. The “Institutions on future schedules” exception would also preclude Park from signing with South Dakota State and Akron as ISU will face them in 2018.
Park had started the first four games of the 2017 season for the Cyclones in his second year in Ames. In his first season at ISU, he became the full-time starter in the latter portion of the 2016 season. During his time with the Cyclones, he completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,971 yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for a pair of touchdowns in that span.
With this move, Park will be working on his fourth collegiate program in less than four years.
A four-star member of Georgia’s 2014 recruiting class, Park was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of South Carolina; and the No. 229 player overall according to Rivals.com. Park worked mainly with the scout team during his only season with the Bulldogs.
In mid-June of 2015, it was confirmed that Park would be transferring from Georgia. After spending the 2015 season at the junior college level, Park transferred to ISU in February of 2016.